I had a quick question, I went to the Tulane website and it looks like you can just begin to complete the secondary without receiving any notification. I know each school handles the secondary differently but this seemed odd. Does anyone know if this is true and if so are there any other odd secondary procedures we should be aware of? I also received an email from Mayo saying they wouldn’t look at the AMCAS application until their fee was paid. Is this normal?
There are several schools that post their secondaries on the web where anyone can access them. MOST schools will send you a secondary and cash your check before they reject you, so it is probably ok to start working on it.
Personally, I probably wouldn’t SUBMIT a secondary (and pay for it) until the school has notified you to do so, but I see no reason why you couldn’t start working on any questions/essays that might be involved in the secondary. There is a lengthy thread on SDN about this. I didn’t read it, so I can’t tell you what the consensus is.
I think the Mayo thing is indeed normal. Mayo does have a bit of a rep for sending a rejection letter the minute they cash the check and I think I remember reading last year that they wouldn’t look at your AMCAS until you sent them $$$. (This is not at all to imply that Mayo is not a great school. Several top-tier schools are notorious for sending out rejections the minute the check clears).
I also received an email from Mayo saying they wouldn’t look at the AMCAS application until their fee was paid. Is this normal?
Yup, it’s completely normal and as Amy says, some schools are notorious for cashing the check at what seems to be the same instant that they’re mailing your rejection.
I KNOW you’ve already paid an application fee to AMCAS but the individual secondary fees charged by each school are just that - application fees to the individual schools. This whole process can get very expensive.
I think Mayo is a little unusual in that they won’t process your primary application until they’ve cashed your secondary application fee, AND their secondary has content to it. I’ve heard through the grapevine that they do indeed reject people who have PAID the secondary fee and done the phone interview, without actually reviewing the phone interview. If that is true then they are taking the money for the secondary but only reviewing the primary application.
I could be totally wrong–it’s just something I heard through the grapevine. However, Mayo does PROMISE a response within two weeks of the phone interview as to whether you get an in person interview or not. I can’t imagine they listen to every half-hour phone interview within two weeks. Everyone hears from the same woman in the admissions office and she’d be pretty busy in that case! I wouldn’t be shocked if they are just ditching a certain percentage of phone interviews after cashing the check but without listening to them. Whereas I think other schools that reject students pre-secondary do it before requesting a secondary fee. Of course, there are plenty of secondaries out there that have no content at all other than a request for money, which isn’t much different. But at least in that case rejectees don’t have to torment themselves wondering whether or not their secondary was ever REVIEWED or not.
But one thing IS for sure–you will never get into Mayo if you don’t pay the secondary fee!
We need to distinguish between schools that pre-screen prior to sending out secondaries and those that don’t. The ones that pre-screen will be the ones who reject you before you cough up additional money, obviously - because they’ll determine on the basis of your primary AMCAS application whether they want to spend more time on you. Unfortunately most AMCAS schools now do NOT pre-screen: everyone gets a secondary. And that means that there are a fair number of people out there who pay perfectly good money and put a lot of effort into secondaries… only to get rejected so fast after their secondaries are received that it is simply impossible to believe that the secondary was even looked at except to determine the location of the check.
Sad, and cynical on my part I know, but absolutely true. You can find stories about this on SDN going way back. My favorite is the folks whose rejection letters from Case Western were postmarked the same day as the postcard receipt telling them that their application had been received.
My favorite is the folks whose rejection letters from Case Western were postmarked the same day as the postcard receipt telling them that their application had been received.
Yuck. Why can’t schools like Case at least try to be slightly discreet? I can understand paying some money to have them review a secondary and then reject it. I can even understand a school pretending to review all the secondaries by waiting some pointless, perfunctory period before sending out rejections. But sending them the same day? That seems like a false representation of the product they sell, since most schools claim that they really look at the “whole application.” And here they aren’t even ashamed!